Network Wilmington Real Estate News

March 31, 2022

9 Steps to Picking the a Family Friendly Neighborhood in Wilmington, NC

Image of a mother, after, young daughter, and son strolling through a family-friendly neighborhood.

The Wilmington region is home to a wide range of residents — all the way from college students to retired beach-lovers to long-time locals. However, families are one of the most rapidly growing populations in the area.

As communities within Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover Counties continue to experience extraordinary growth, more and more time and resources are being devoted to schools, community events, businesses, and more!

But, how do you go about finding the flourishing neighborhoods that will set your family up for success?

How to Choose the Most Family-Friendly Neighborhoods in Wilmington NC

Your family’s home is more than just a house. It includes everything in your community, from your immediate neighborhood to the surrounding land, businesses, and even local traditions and events. Picking the right community is essential! 

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 9 essential steps to picking the Wilmington, NC neighborhood that’s right for your family:

  1. Scope out the local educational resources. If you have kids, odds are that schooling opportunities are one of the first things you will check. The New Hanover County School District ranks 16th in the state, and many schools in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties have received high ratings in various categories — like academics, teachers, diversity, college prep, and clubs and activities.
  2. Check local event calendars. In the Wilmington area, you’ll find no shortage of community events and activities — from annual festivals and fairs to weekly markets and unique holiday celebrations. Between Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach, there will always be something for your family to do.
  3. Look for nearby nature. Kids flourish when they have the space to explore and grow. Even if your new home doesn’t have a very big lawn, proximity to Carolina, Kure, and Wrightsville beaches and a wide variety of family-friendly parks can help fill the hunger for play and adventure.
  4. Spend some time with Google or Apple Maps. What do you see around the neighborhood? Are there clear, safe walking routes to nearby parks? How close are the nearest school, grocery store, and hospital? Even if you can’t tour the area in-person, simply spending a few minutes looking at the roads, buildings, and area around your potential new home will help you get a better idea of what it will be like to live there.
  5. Take an in-person tour. If at all possible, you should try to see your new home and neighborhood in person. There’s no better way to get a true sense of the kind of environment your family will live in. 
  6. Chat with the neighbors. One of the aspects that really MAKES a neighborhood are the actual neighbors. If you’re able to tour in-person, take a walk around your neighborhood and try to strike up conversations with several of your potential neighbors. Ask them about the area and what they like about living there.
  7. Pay special attention to local advertising. You can tell a lot about a town based on the type of marketing you see on local television, online, and as you drive around the community. If you see a good number of kid-focused ads, odds are, the community is full of families just like yours.
  8. Check out local reviews. Reading online reviews is one of the best things you can do to make sure your neighborhood will be a good fit for your family. Even the tourist reviews that pop up for Carolina and Wrightsville Beach can give you insight that will help you make your choice.
  9. Consult with a local REALTOR. Even if you walk through every one of these steps, you’ll likely still be missing some crucial information you’d like to consider as you're making a decision on your new home. This is where an experienced local REALTOR will help!

The Local Expertise of Network Real Estate Agents

Nobody knows the Wilmington area better than the team here at Network Real Estate. After all, we’ve been here since 1982 — way before Wilmington boomed into the bustling town it is today. 

Need some help narrowing your family home search? 

Our agents are eager and available to answer your questions and guide you through the home search process. Give us a call today at 910-395-4100.




Posted in Buying a Home
March 15, 2022

Wrightsville Beach VS. Carolina Beach: Where to Live?

Drone view of homes along Wrightsville Beach coast.

Attracted to coastal living in southeastern North Carolina?

The next step: deciding between the two largest beach towns in the area — Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.

The Network Real Estate team has been here a while and has a strong feeling for the lay of the land. To help you decide you feel confident in, we’ve outlined the biggest advantages of living in each location. 

Benefits of Living at Wrightsville Beach

East of central Wilmington and north of Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach comes with a variety of unique qualities that make it a wonderful place to call home: 

  • It’s an upscale environment. To many people, Wrightsville Beach seems a little more “polished” than Carolina Beach. You’ll definitely get a greater “wine-and-cheese” sort of vibe from Wrightsville Beach-goers.
  • It’s closer to the hub of Wilmington. Directly to the west is the city-center of Wilmington, a river town that offers a wide range of activities, from the interactive Battleship NC museum to the restaurants, bars, and shops in the historic downtown river district. 
  • The beach has a gentler slope. The steeper the beach slope, the kinder the waves and the more suited the beach is for leisurely swimming. While Carolina Beach’s slope is steep in many places, Wrightsville offers its visitors a more gradual incline.
  • It provides top-notch surfing. In fact, Wrightsville Beach is one of the best surfing destinations along the east coast. And the watersports don’t end there! You can do it all — from wake boarding and paddle boarding to deep sea fishing and scuba diving. 
  • It’s dog-free much of the year. If you’re not a big fan of man’s best friend, you’ll be happy to learn that during the on-season (April through September) dogs aren’t allowed on the beach.
  • It’s a haven for bird-watchers. If your perfect day sounds like spending time outside, breathing in the fresh salty air and birdwatching, Wrightsville Beach is the perfect place for you. The south end of the beach is a favorite of many beach-nesting birds — like the Least Tern and Black Skimmer.

Benefits of Living at Carolina Beach

At the farthest southeast corner of North Carolina, Carolina Beach (along with its neighbor, Kure Beach) is actually nicknamed Pleasure Island. Here’s why:

  • It’s normally less crowded. Because Wrightsville Beach is smaller and closer to central Wilmington, it’s packed. At Carolina Beach, you can enjoy a simpler, more secluded beach environment, especially during the off-season.
  • It offers more kid-friendly activities. From the NC Aquarium and Fort Fisher to the boardwalk arcade and the stunning Carolina Beach State Park, there's no shortage of activities for extraordinary family weekend excursions.
  • It’s a lot less expensive. While the typical Wrightsville Beach home currently costs over $1 million, the average Carolina Beach home is selling for about half of that price.
  • It has an unmatched “chill” vibe. It’s the perfect beach if you prefer to lounge on the beach with beer in hand. Actually, Freeman Park — on the north end of the beach — is one of the few NC beaches that will allow you to drive onto the beach, camp, and enjoy an open fire. 
  • There are fewer parking & beach patrol restrictions. With the greater numbers of Wrightsville Beach visitors comes the inevitable difficulties of parking and stricter beach restrictions. At Carolina Beach, it’s easier to find a parking spot and avoid running into any unwanted limitations.
  • It’s more dog-friendly. Although both beaches have some dog restrictions, Carolina Beach is a little more lax, allowing you to bring your dog onto the beach even during the on-season before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Plus, the beach at nearby Fort Fisher permits dogs (on-leash) at all hours, all year-round.

But…the beaches share a lot in common. 

Although there are many differences, the towns come with many of the same advantages. From the boating opportunities to the frequent festivals and events, even to the many beloved local restaurants and bars, each town comes with spectacular adventures to fill any interest.

Ready to search for homes in Carolina or Wrightsville Beach? 

Our agents are happy to help you start your home search process. Call us today at 910-395-4100.



Posted in Buying a Home
March 9, 2022

2022 Travel Trends That May Affect Your Wilmington Area Vacation Rental

Image of a woman relaxed and excited to be working on her laptop on the beach.

As later variants of the coronavirus slowly subside and fall into our rearview mirrors, many experts in the tourism industry expect travel to rise back to pre-pandemic highs. 


And actually, the resurgence of the travel industry is already under way!


If you own a vacation rental in Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, or anywhere in the Wilmington area, you are probably already seeing an uptick in spring and summer bookings. 


“2021 and 2022 turned out to be most property owners’ best years ever, by nearly 20-40%,” said Kevin McKoy, Carolina Beach Network Real Estate Agent.


But just how much of a revival can you anticipate?


Will people start traveling more in 2022?

Absolutely! Many people are already scheduling luxury trips for spring and summer 2022. 




It’s what many are calling a bucket-list effect. There’s nothing like an anxiety-driving pandemic to push people to finally go visit the places they’ve always wanted to see.  


After being cooped up in their cramped homes for two years, people are eager — maybe even desperate — to get away. 


Nearly everyone — young and old — feels as if they’ve lost two valuable years of their lives and are ready to make up for lost time.


Where are travelers planning to go in 2022?

When we say people are ready to make up for lost time, we’re not just talking about brief lake vacations or weekend trips. 


No…people from all over the U.S. are planning to “go big” this year, scheduling trips to “epic destinations” (perhaps, even, across the globe), according to an Expedia survey of 12,000 travelers. To be precise, 68% of Americans have extravagant travel plans in the works.


Although more people will be looking internationally for their next vacation spot, domestic travel still ranks as the top choice for Americans.


The Expedia study found that 59% of U.S. respondents are already scheduling domestic travel in 2022.

Image of a family waiting to get on an airplane in the airport waiting area.

What are 2022 travelers looking for in a vacation?

2022 travel plans vary as much as there are different responses to the stress of the last couple of years. Many people are feeling the need for thrill and adventure, while others are looking for a sort of mental health retreat


In fact, 36% of U.S. travelers are seeking a sense of contentment and well-being as they’re making vacation plans, and 38% are looking forward most to merely relaxing and doing nothing while on vacation (Expedia). 


And what better place to achieve these personal wellness goals than a sweet Wilmington area beach vacation home? 


Vacationers are looking for spacious vacation rentals that lend themselves easily to relaxation and pampering. So, to get the biggest bang for your buck, think about upgrading your beach rental to maximize its sense of luxury. 


Plus, as many businesses are opting to maintain remote work situations, workers are starting to schedule more “work-cations.” I mean, what’s stopping people from relaxing with their feet in the sand in between work meetings?

How much are 2022 travelers willing to spend?

Approximately 70% of leisure travelers in major countries — like the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, and Spain — are prepared to spend more money on travel in 2022 than they have over the last five years, according to research from the World Travel & Tourism Council and


Gone are the days of compromising due to the looming worldwide pandemic. Many people are more than willing to spend their hard-earned savings to take the dream vacation they deserve. 


After all, it’s been a rough couple of years!


That means, beach vacationers will be happy to pay higher rates for a nice, luxury vacation rental on Carolina, Wrightsville, or Kure Beach. So, as long as your space is up-to-date and attractive, you’ll have no problem securing back-to-back bookings and an impressive return on investment.




Thinking about investing in a vacation rental in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach? Our agents are here to help you find the best beach home investment in the area! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Investors
March 2, 2022

Top 10 Perks of Living in Carolina Beach

Image of two people lounging casually on the beach, sitting back and watching the sunrise.

Want to move to the beautiful east coast? 

We don’t blame you! After all, we chose this life as well. 

We’ve been here awhile, so take it from us. Carolina Beach is an AMAZING place to live. Here’s why: 

1. The beach, of course!

Why else would you move to the coast? 

If you feel your best when your toes are in the sand and you’re listening to the sound of the waves, Carolina Beach is meant for you. 

When you live so close to the ocean, a luxurious afternoon at the beach can be your Saturday routine (rather than a vacation every year or two). Even in winter months, you’ll get the occasional 70-degree day to take in the warm rays and salty air. 

And for those water-lovers out there, Carolina Beach offers a wide variety of water activities. Whether you are into boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or jet skiing, there are countless rental and docking options across Pleasure Island (which also includes the neighboring Kure Beach). 

If that’s not enough, Carolina Beach is home to Freeman Park, one of the ONLY places where you’re allowed to drive out onto the beach, set up camp, and enjoy an open fire.

2. There's a TON to do.

Although we know this will NEVER happen…if you get tired of the beach, there’s a lot more to do in this one-of-a-kind beach town. 

Festivals & Events

Whether you want to spend your weekend perusing a local market, eating delicious food, listening to live music, or flying kites on the beach, the town seems to have festivals and activities for every interest.

The Boardwalk

Over the years, locals have joined together to bring life to the Carolina Beach boardwalk. And they’ve done a heck of a job! Food and Wine Magazine named Carolina Beach’s boardwalk one of the best in the country.

 With a variety of local restaurants, boutiques, shops, an old-school arcade, and an amusement park, the boardwalk’s attractions are seemingly endless.

Outdoor Activities

If you’re the outdoorsy type, Carolina Beach State Park will be your favorite spot, boasting several forested hiking trails, camping and picnic sites, kayak rentals, and boating opportunities. 

The Nightlife

Carolina Beach is the perfect spot for night owls! From local hangouts to live music and dancing events to camping on the beach, the town offers more nightly options than you’ll know what to do with.

3. Easy Transportation.

Going to the beach? Grabbing a bite? Or picking up a few groceries? 

 At Carolina Beach, making these trips can be as easy as hopping on your bike, climbing into your golf cart, or simply traveling by foot. Everything you need is just a short ride or walk away.

4. Not TOO Touristy.

Although Carolina Beach is a vibrant, attractive beach town, it’s typically not “overwhelmed” with tourists, especially during the chilly months. Plus, many restaurants offer special deals for locals during the off-season.

5. A Strong Community Feel.

Carolina Beach is one of the few coastal towns that still evokes a sense of true community. 

 Depending on your choice of neighborhood, you’ll find yourself regularly running into neighbors and friends at the community pool, clubhouse, boat docks, piers, and tennis courts.

A mother and daughter eating icecream amid downtown beachside shops.

6. Variety of Family-Friendly Activities.

Looking for a home your kids will love? 

 With its boardwalk amusement park and arcade and the variety of outdoor activities at Carolina Beach State Park and on the water, Carolina Beach is overflowing with adventures your family will never forget.

7. High-Ranking Schools.

Your children will not only cherish the fun daily life in Carolina Beach, but they’ll also get a great education

 The town falls under the New Hanover County School District (NHCS), ranked the 16th best school district in North Carolina. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1, NHCS offers the support your child needs to thrive.

8. Stunning Holiday Celebrations.

If you ask a Carolina Beach local, they’ll probably tell you how much they adore the holidays. Every year, Pleasure Island locals decorate the entire town in beautiful lights to celebrate the Island of Lights Festival.

 But the fun doesn’t end there! You’ll never do Christmas the same again after you experience the area’s holiday markets and flotilla competitions. Not to mention the holiday events in nearby downtown Wilmington.

9. Near the Wilmington Hub.

As if Carolina Beach doesn’t offer enough attractions and activities all on its own, you’ve also got Wilmington just a little to the north, with its bustling, historic downtown district right along the Cape Fear River.

10. Close to the Airport.

Just a quick 20-minute drive away, it’s easy to travel to and from your future hometown. Whether you need to get a flight out or your family wants to come visit, cross-country travel is simple and convenient.

Ready to start looking for a Carolina Beach home

Our agents know the area well and can find you a home in a neighborhood that fits your needs. Give us a call today at 910-395-4100.

RELATED: Tips for Moving to Carolina Beach, NC

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 17, 2022

Why are Wilmington Area Housing Prices So High in 2022?

Image of a young couple struggling to pay for a new home.

Whether you’re buying a home for the first time or looking for a Wilmington upgrade, you’re probably wondering if the housing market will ever be in your favor again.

I mean…the prices are bound to drop eventually…right?


But there are a lot of factors keeping housing costs high for the foreseeable future. 

How did we get here?

To understand today’s housing market, we’ve got to look all the way back to the 2008 Housing Crisis. Causing a dramatic drop in prices (33% to be exact), the housing market crash created an economic recession that’s taken more than a decade to recover from. 

The country’s housing prices began growing steadily in 2012 and should have completely rebounded by the end of 2018. 

But, then…Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast, destroying much of the newly developed housing inventory and setting the state’s housing market back a bit. 

Less than two years later, we found ourselves in a global pandemic, which has had all sorts of impacts on the housing market. From a massive shipping problem and building material shortage to significant shifts in buyer and seller attitudes, the COVID-19 virus only exacerbated the already existing supply issues.

Between Hurricane Florence and the pandemic, it’s no surprise that housing prices have spiked in recent years. 

“There was a slight pause during COVID — maybe a 6-month pause or so — but after mid-year of 2020, prices just took off,” said Kevin McKoy, Carolina Beach Network Real Estate Agent. “Prices might have nearly doubled since 5 years ago. Five years ago, you could have maybe got a starter house in Wilmington for $100-and-something, and now, it’s $300.”

And the scary increase in prices has sent buyers and sellers reeling in different ways. 

While homebuyers are unable to secure homes within their budget range, sellers are reluctant to put their homes on the market because it's become more and more difficult to find a new home. 

“For 4 years now, I’ve been saying when these condos sell for these prices, it’s going to create an influx of sellers,” McKoy said. “You’d have thought that the increase in prices would have created some sellers, but it hasn’t.”

Hence, the sort of housing stalemate we’re finding ourselves in.

How does Wilmington’s Growth Contribute? 

If you’ve ever spoken with someone who’s lived in Wilmington for a while, you probably know that the town has experienced booming growth over the last few decades. 

And that growth is continuing to this day.

Every year, United Van Lines conducts a study of Americans’ moving patterns. In 2021, North Carolina ranked as the 13th most moved-to state. And Wilmington was the third most popular moving destination among all U.S. cities (after earning the #1 spot in 2020). 

With the already-sparse inventory of homes, the housing market is struggling to keep up with the growing Wilmington population. So, although it’s not the sole driving force behind the hike in prices, the growth of the Cape Fear Region is definitely a big contributor to the strain. 

Image of some small wooden houses and a magnifying glass over a bag of coins picturing a bar graph and upward pointing trend arrow.

When will Wilmington Area Housing Prices Drop? 

Home prices will drop when (or if) one of two things happens. Either the demand has to decrease or the supply needs a big boost. 

Even amid the pandemic, Wilmington’s population (and thus, the demand for housing) continued to grow. But after peaking at 2.37% in 2016, the area’s rate of growth has hit a plateau of just over 1% in recent years.

Even if the population and demand decrease gradually, you’ll hardly notice a change in price. The descent will just be too slow. 

Several factors could boost the housing supply, though: 

  1. More new home construction — if and when construction companies can get the materials they need
  2. Expansion into surrounding areas with lower demand — such as Leland and Hampstead
  3. Changes in buyer and seller attitudes — sellers need to feel comfortable with the risk of putting their homes homes on the market & buyers need to be willing to take on the risk larger mortgages (although, this is the kind of riskiness that contributed to the 2008 Housing Crisis)
  4. Responses to affordability challenges — if the country’s housing prices become too unaffordable, the government may provide some sort of assistance

Hoping to buy a home in 2022? 

Whether you’re looking for a home in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, our realtors will help you determine what you can afford and find you a home that you’ll fall in love with! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 26, 2022

2022 Housing Market Outlook in Wilmington, NC

Image of a clock with houses atop stacks of coins.

As we begin 2022, there’s a lot happening in the Wilmington area housing marketing. 

From the pandemic influences to general market growth to the increase in Wilmington’s population, there are a wide variety of factors impacting prices, supply, and demand. 

Is now a good time to buy or sell your home? 

It all depends whether 2021’s market trends will continue into the new year. 

Our 2022 Housing Market Predictions

Because we can’t yet put COVID-19 in our rearview mirrors, the pandemic’s housing trends will likely continue. Our realtors suspect home prices will remain high for the foreseeable future — at least into the first part of 2022. 

Here’s what we expect to happen: 

  • Prices, appreciation, sales, & mortgage rates will most likely increase by several percentage points.
  • Inventory of new and existing homes will probably continue to be pretty tight, perhaps increasing slightly in some areas.
  • Demand for new and existing homes will almost certainly remain strong, as about 45 million millennials approach the key home-buying age (U.S. Census Bureau).

In addition to financial, supply, and demand factors, the housing market has changed in some other significant ways. 

As you may have experienced firsthand, many workplaces were forced to rely on remote work possibilities as COVID-19 hit the streets. For many companies, the newfound workplace flexibility is here to stay.

How does this affect the housing market? 

Well, if people don’t have to “physically” go into work, there’s no real reason for them to live close to their “physical” workplace. This opens up the door for them to move…honestly… wherever they want!

We may see fewer people wanting to live in big metropolitan areas and more people moving to areas with a smaller population density. We may see people choosing more affordable living options or even moving to those places they’ve always wanted to visit. 

“There’s a lot of people moving here because they realized they could work from anywhere,” said Kevin McKoy, Carolina Beach Network Real Estate Agent. “So, they might have gotten out of Raleigh or Charlotte or a bigger city to come near the beach — Wilmington, the beaches — and live here. And when you can sell for a Raleigh price, for instance, it’s quite a deal.”

Wilmington area housing prices aren’t as high as the near million dollar prices of big cities like Raleigh and Charlotte, McKoy said. In these larger North Carolina metropolitan areas, buyers are spending anywhere from $800 thousand to $1 million on modest homes

This is a major reason McKoy doesn’t expect Wilmington area housing prices to decrease anytime soon.

In addition to the new housing possibilities of remote work, COVID has afflicted the labor market with its own supply and demand challenges. Namely, increasingly competitive wages may very well give more people the resources they need to afford the steep home prices. 

Additionally, homebuyers are growing a stronger preference for suburban homes and larger, more spacious homes. After all, they need the space to conduct their remote work duties. 

However, with the sparse inventory of homes, McKoy says there’s not much room for buyers to be very picky. McKoy is seeing more and more homebuyers compromise on their home preferences — just so they can get a roof over their heads. If buyers are unwilling to sacrifice a few ideal features, it can take years to find and secure the right house!

Image of an excited young couple with a baby viewing the inside of their ideal home.

How the 2022 Housing Market Affects YOU

What cues should you take from these 2022 housing market trends? It depends on your goals: 

If you’re looking to buy a home…

You need to define your budget carefully. Time and time again, potential homebuyers are bidding on homes that end up selling for hundreds of dollars over the asking price. Between the increased prices and mortgage rates, you need to budget high

And nowadays, you’ve got to make decisions quickly. Once a home is listed in the market, it could be snatched up in just 6 hours, McKoy said. There’s no time to stall.

“I’ve got a handful of buyers now — one of them is looking for a condo at the beach, one’s looking for land, one’s looking for a house in Wilmington in the 300 range, and one’s looking for a house in Wilmington in the 850 range,” McKoy said. “There’s hardly an option.”

Regardless, you should NEVER buy a home unless you feel comfortable with your loan and the amount you’ll pay month-to-month. 

Do you remember what caused the 2008 housing crisis? 

Too many people taking on risky loans they couldn’t afford. Fortunately, our realtors look out for YOUR best interest. We’ll help you determine what you can safely afford. Just give us a call at 910-395-4100.

If you’re thinking about selling…

The market is in a great spot for you right now. Assuming it’s in good shape, your home will sell quickly. Plus, with the high demand, you’ll probably be able to charge a hefty price

Your main challenge? Finding a new home.

You’ll have the greatest advantage if you don’t necessarily need to move into a new home right away — whether that means staying in your old home until your new home is ready, renting for a short period of time, or even living with family or friends for a few months.

NOTE: If you want to sell your vacation home, you should expect a significantly cooler market than the 2021 uptick. 

If you’re a renter…

As you may already be noticing, monthly rent prices are growing, as well. Rent has been increasing slowly since the 1990s, but it jumped extraordinarily high in 2020 and 2021 (in part, due to the pandemic & partially a response to the high cost of buying).

In fact, rental vacancy rates have dipped as low as 5.7% across the United States, a significant drop from the usual 6.8% to 7% rates

If you’re investing…

The booming marketing means you’ll experience exceptional returns. And because monthly rent prices are driving so high, rental property investments can mean even greater yields throughout the year.

Have we answered all your housing market questions?

Whether you’re a renter, investor, buyer, or seller in the Cape Fear Region, our team of real estate experts is here to help you determine your best course of action. To get in touch with one of our realtors, give us a call at 910-395-4100.


Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 16, 2021

The 9 Steps to Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Wondering how to pick the right real estate agent? 

When it comes to buying or selling a home, there’s a lot at stake. That’s why you need a quality Realtor with the right kind of expertise and personality to get you the deal you deserve. 

Whether you are selling your home or looking to buy a new property, your real estate agent should have your best interest at heart 

But how can you tell? 

Let’s dive in!

A realtor showing a couple a potential home.

How to Choose the the Right Realtor

  1. Conduct on-the-ground research. If you plan to buy a new home, play detective and drive around the neighborhoods you're most interested in. Take note of houses with “For Sale” signs, and research agents that list those properties. It’s one of the best ways to find out which realtors know the area well. 

  2. Google them! Scope out Google and Yelp reviews for honest assessments of the agent’s work, experience, and character. Check out LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms for more information about the Realtor’s personality and professional qualifications. You can also reference your state’s real estate commission to make sure they have a valid real estate license. 

  3. Pay close attention to their marketing. From a simple assessment of an agency’s website, brochure, and listing materials, you’ll be able to get a good sense of the company’s character. A good agency/agent should convey passion, transparency, generosity, and a strong work ethic. 

  4. Get those referrals. What better way to assess a Realtor’s character than to seek a referral from a trusted friend or family member? More often than not, sellers and buyers who find real estate agents through referrals are far from disappointed. A couple interviewing a realtor.

  5. Interview at least 3 real estate agents. Choosing a Realtor is like picking the perfect candidate for a job. Even if you are buying a new home and don’t have to pay Realtor fees, finding the right agent will still save you money down the road. During your interview, you should keep a few things in mind: 

    • Neighborhood expertise — How well do they know the area?

    • Transparency — Are they honest? Realistic?

    • Core values — What attitude do they bring to their work? What drives them?

    • Track record — What kind of experience do they have? What’s their work history? Have their former clients been pleased with their results?

    • Strategy — How much money will they save you? How are their negotiation skills? Do they seem knowledgeable?

    • Patience — Do they answer your questions completely and patiently? 

  6. Pick a Realtor you click with. You are going to spend substantial time with your real estate agent, so you need to actually like them. Finding an agent who is trustworthy and truly understands your goals can be quite the challenge. Steer clear of Realtors who are overly aggressive or vague about their level of experience. Your agent should be relatable, honest, easy to talk to, patient, and have solid negotiation skills. 

  7. Find an agent who’ll make YOUR interests their top priority. If you’re buying, be upfront and transparent with your real estate agent about the specific qualities you’re looking for in your new home. If the Realtor continually points you toward homes that just don’t fit your criteria, they’re probably not looking for houses for you. Instead, the agent is suggesting homes that will bring them a greater profit. And never be afraid to switch Realtors if the relationship feels off. Ultimately, finding the right real estate agent will save you money and help you achieve your buying or selling goals in the long run.

  8. Take note of how the agent speaks & listens to you. It should be clear that your Realtor is honestly trying to understand and achieve your goals. Your real estate agent should spend more time asking you questions and listening to your answers than telling you what they think you should do (at least in the initial stages of the home buying or selling process).

  9. Ultimately, trust your gut! At the end of the day, only you can tell whether a real estate agent is a good fit for you and your goals. If it seems that you and your agent can’t get on the same page, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

At Network Real Estate, our agents know the Wilmington area like the back of their hands. We have agents specializing in neighborhoods and properties across New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties

We don’t rest until our clients have sold their home for the best possible price or have moved safely into the home of their dreams. And once you’re in your new home, we want to make sure you have all the resources you need to succeed as a Wilmington area homeowner. 

Looking to buy or sell a home in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach? 

We are here to help! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Dec. 14, 2021

17 Game-Changing Tips to Declutter Your Home for the Holidays

Hosting family or friends this holiday season? 

Looking to start 2022 with a fresh, clean living space?

Image of an organized office.

We have some handy clutter-busting tricks up our sleeves that will help you transform your disorganized space back into the home you originally fell in love with. 

Let’s get started!

  1. Keep flat surfaces clear. This step is CRUCIAL to maintaining an organized home! Countertops, tables, and nightstands seem to be the biggest clutter magnets in our houses. To fix this, avoid storing small items — keys, wallet, mail, papers, and books — on these surfaces, and store larger objects in cabinets, closest, and bins as much as possible. 
  2. Take advantage of hidden storage spaces. When it comes to storage in a small living space, you’ve got to think creatively. You can probably fit more under your bed — and the guest bed — than you think. Closet and pantry doors are also the perfect place for over-the-door organizers. 
  3. Be honest about what you actually NEED to keep. If you haven’t used an item in the last year or it doesn’t hold any special meaning, get rid of it. Whether it’s a piece of clothing, game, or kitchen appliance, there’s no reason to keep items that don’t give you joy. To avoid hoarding, grant yourself only 1 large bin for keepsakes.
  4. Get a second (objective) opinion. Recruit a family member or friend who will give you honest advice and help you decide what’s worth holding on to.
  5. Implement smart storage. From drawers and hooks to baskets and bins, there are countless storage pieces you can use to clear up your living space. Think vertically with wall shelving and clean up your pantry and fridge with clear, airtight food storage containers. 
  6. Give every item a “home.” Once you do this, you (and your family) will be more likely to put things back where they belong.
  7. Label storage container. It’s challenging to remember where everything belongs. Labels make it easier (especially for young children). 
  8. Designate a specific space for clutter. A certain amount of clutter is hard to avoid. But instead of leaving items on the table or countertop, choose a closet, shelf, or drawer that will provide a temporary home for any miscellaneous items.
  9. Create a catch-all clutter station near the door. You’ll need a place for your keys, wallet, coat, shoes, hat, umbrella, and...of course...the mail. 
  10. Capture before and after photos. Not only will you wonder at the amazing decluttering work you’ve done, but you will have a way to remember what the space should look like when it feels cluttered again. Just try to replicate the photo.
  11. Pick furniture that conceals the clutter. Think smart AND stylish with 2-in-1 furniture pieces, such as sofas and ottomans with blanket or board game storage and bed frames with drawers.
  12. Don’t forget to consider room flow. As you rearrange the furniture and storage pieces in your home, try to keep a distance of 3 feet between each furniture item.
  13. Look at the space through the eyes of your guests. After you’ve been living in the clutter for too long, your eyes may glaze over parts of the mess. If you were seeing your home for the first time, where would you want to sit or stand? What spaces might make you feel claustrophobic or cramped?Woman going crazy because of her disorganized home.
  14. Set small goals for yourself. Create mini goals that are specific and attainable. It’s the best way to set yourself up for success. Whether your goal is to clear out 1 room or 1 drawer in 1 week, breaking up your decluttering work into smaller tasks — and rewarding yourself — will help you avoid burnout and procrastination.
  15. Create a “donate” pile. What better way to celebrate the holidays than to donate your unwanted clothing and items to the people who need it. Whether you give to Goodwill or charities like a women’s or homeless shelter, there are numerous ways to give to your local neighbors in the Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach communities. 
  16. Build a better organization plan. To keep clutter from building up again and again, try buying only the essential food and supplies you need for each week. 
  17. Develop a 1-in-1-out rule. To prevent clutter build-up, simply keep fewer items in your home. Any time you purchase a new item, find an object of similar size to toss or donate.

If you follow these 17 home decluttering tips, your house will be ready for holiday celebrations and the New Year in no time!

Looking to rent your home out as a vacation rental? 

Whether your home is in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, we can help you! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in DIY
Nov. 12, 2021

Wilmington, NC Area Holiday Events 2021

Young girl outdoors during holiday season.

After tons of cancellations in 2020, the Wilmington area is coming back to life this winter with its most treasured holiday festivities. New to the area? Here are some events that you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

Holiday 5K Runs & Walks

Nov. 25 — Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot. Want to give back this Thanksgiving? Join Habitat for Humanity early Thanksgiving morning for their annual 5K run or 1-mile walk around Wrightsville Beach Loop to raise funds to build a home for a neighbor in need. Register here. 

Dec. 11 — Jingle Bell Run 5K Fun Run. Calling all Christmas-lovers who love a good run! Come decked out in your most festive holiday apparel for the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History holiday 5K. You could even win a prize for best holiday costume! Visit the website.

Jan 2 — Carolina Beach State Park Half Marathon & 5K. Start the New Year with a 13.1 or 3.1-mile trail race through the unique terrain of Carolina Beach State Park. While you’re running, you can enjoy the sights of the rolling pines and the Cape Fear River. Register here.

Holiday Markets

Nov. 20 & 27 — Kure Beach Holiday Market. With free entry, the annual market is perfect for residents who want to stroll along the beachfront, shop local, and get an early start on their holiday gift list. Visit the website.

Dec. 3-5 — The Holiday Flea at the BAC. Called the “ultimate vintage flea,” you’re sure to find something unique and retro at the Brooklyn Arts Center’s annual holiday market. It’s the perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind gift for your one-of-a-kind loved ones. Visit the website.

Dec. 4 — Carolina Beach Holiday Market. Another local favorite, locals and visitors are welcome any time of day to do some holiday shopping and support local vendors at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Check out the event Facebook page.

Christmas Light Events

Nov. 26 — Downtown Wilmington Holiday Tree Lighting. To kick off the holiday season, residents across the Wilmington area gather to enjoy live music, sip on hot chocolate, light the giant tree on Market and Water Streets, and visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Check it out.

Nov. 26-27 — NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach. After a Christmas Tree lighting Friday night, floods of people come to Wrightsville Beach Saturday for an annual festival in the park, a stunning lighted boat parade, and an exquisite fireworks show. Check it out.

Nov. 26 - Jan. 3 — Cape Fear Festival of Trees. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is a family favorite year-round. But when the holiday season starts, local artists, businesses, and organizations transform the venue into an enchanting winter wonderland. Buy tickets online.

Nov. 26 & 27; Dec. 3-22 — Enchanted Airlie. One of the most popular holiday light displays in Wilmington, the already beautiful Airlie Gardens are decked out in millions of twinkling lights at the onset of the holiday season, just for locals to stroll through and admire. Buy tickets online.

Dec. 4 — Island Lights Christmas Flotilla. Fishing boats and pleasure crafts arrayed with beautiful (and creative) light displays? Count me in! Like the Wrightsville Beach flotilla, the Carolina Beach rendition is one of the best ways to start the holiday season right in Wilmington.

A couple and their child at a Christmas fair.

Holiday Entertainment & Shows

Nov. 29 — Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Ever heard Mannheim Steamroller Christmas tunes in person? In Wilmington, you can ever year! After pausing their annual tour in 2020, Mannheim Steamroller will be back at The Wilson Center in 2021! Buy tickets online.

Dec. 18-19 — The Great Wilmington Nutcracker. The Wilmington Ballet Company partners with the U.S. International Ballet to put on this stunning holiday classic every year. Secure your seats early to watch the exquisite performance with stilt walkers, high-tech digital imagery, and 30+ professional dancers. Buy tickets online.

Thalian Hall. From the Celtic Angels Christmas to a showing of Elf the Musical, you can catch a variety of festive shows at Thalian Hall throughout the holiday season. Check 2021 showings.

Opera House Theatre Company at Mayfaire. This holiday season, the Opera House Theatre Company is putting on a Charlie Brown Christmas show for the kids and a romantic Merry Mayfaire Christmas performance starring Broadway Veteran, Brian Whitted. Check the website.

Other Holiday Fun

Dec. 3 — Island of Lights Christmas Parade. Traditionally held on the Friday following Thanksgiving weekend, the annual holiday parade at Carolina Beach on Lake Park Boulevard is free for all. So, come enjoy the festive floats, music, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Dec. 17-18, 23-24 — Caroling by “Reindeer” Drawn Carriage or Trolley. Santa will join Wilmington’s Christmas music-loving families for a magical carriage or trolley ride through the stunning Historic Downtown Wilmington for some caroling. Visit the website.

New Year Events

Jan. 1 — Plunging into the New Year. There’s no more exhilarating way to kick off the New Year! Join the other brave souls of the Wilmington area to plunge into the chilling Wrightsville waves and raise money for Communities In Schools of Cape Fear. Register online.

Dec. 31 — Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration. The free, iconic ball-drop event of the Wilmington area is being hosted at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park & Pavilion this year. So, come join the rest of the town for dancing, refreshments, and fireworks. Visit the website.

Looking to move to the Wilmington area? Whether you want to settle in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, we can help you find your perfect home in this vibrant area! Check out the homes for sale, or give our agents a call at 910-395-4100.


Posted in Local Events
Nov. 9, 2021

Most Common Home-Buying FAQs

Realtor giving a family the keys to a new home.Buying a new home can be complicated and overwhelming, especially for those who haven’t gone through the process before. We get a lot of repeat questions about the home-buying process, so we’d like to help by answering some of them here:

  • Should I buy a new home or continue renting? Right now, interest rates are exceptionally low, which can actually make it cheaper to buy than rent. When making this decision, consider how long you’ll be living in the location and whether you are ready for additional maintenance and payment responsibilities.
  • Do I need to go to the bank before looking at homes? Yes! Speaking with your banker sets you up for home-buying success, helping you:
    • Get pre-approval for a loan (this shows the seller you have the financial means to purchase a home)
    • Determine how much you can afford 
    • Plan your budget and narrow your search
    • Decide the best financing plan for you and your situation
    • Understand what costs are involved (sale price, down payment, prepaid items, escrows, lending fees, etc.)
  • What credit score do I need? The higher your credit score, the better your lending terms will be. We recommend a credit score of at least 620, but this really depends on your lender. Be sure to check with your loan officer. 
  • How much do I need for a down payment? Most lenders require a downpayment between 3 and 5% of the purchase price, but some lenders may require less.
  • How much should I offer for a house? At the end of the day, this depends on your judgement and budget. Your realtor’s advice is your best asset here. 
  • What is an earnest money deposit? Commonly called a good faith deposit, this is a deposit you give to the seller’s real estate company to show that you are serious about purchasing a specific property. The larger the deposit, the more likely the seller will be to accept your purchase offer.
  • What is a due diligence fee? This negotiated fee essentially compensates the seller for removing their home from the market while you have inspections done. Buyers typically pay anywhere between $500 and $2000, but the sum can vary based on a number of market conditions.
  • Should I buy a new home before selling my current home? There isn’t an absolute answer here. Although it can reduce your stress to have your new home in line before you sell your current home, that’s not always an option. You may be able to negotiate a “rent-back” through which your buyer will let you stay in the home a certain number of days after closing if you pay their mortgage during that time.
  • How long does it take to buy a new home? The home-buying process can typically take between 30 and 45 days, but the length of time can vary.
  • How do I find a rent-to-own property? These properties are rare (and risky). Most rent-to-own buyers have low credit scores, creating a high risk for the sellers. Therefore, rent-to-own homes typically come with high interest rates and downpayments.
  • What is a short sale? It's a sale in which the sale proceeds are less than the seller's debt on the property and the seller can't afford to pay off the debt. It's best to avoid short sales, as they can be time-consuming, complicated, and result in foreclosure.

A couple walking through a home with a realtor.

  • How long does my offer last? Your purchase offer can have a “life” anywhere between 12 hours to 3 or 4 days. If a home is newly listed or in high demand, the “life” will be shorter. To learn the life of your offer, check with your realtor.
  • What happens after I make an offer? Once you’ve made an offer, the seller may accept, reject, counter, or neglect to respond to your offer. Although offers are rarely rejected, you can come back with another offer if your first is rejected.
  • What inspections do I need to have done? Minimally, you need to make your offer contingent upon a home inspection. But you should consider additional inspections, such as pest inspections, foundation inspections, and mold inspections.
  • What do I do after my purchase offer is accepted? Once a seller accepts your offer, the next steps are to complete the inspection(s), the formal mortgage application, and any other required paperwork (title, abstract, survey, etc.).
  • Are final walk-throughs necessary? Although they’re not required, they’re absolutely necessary. In the weeks that pass by during the purchase process, you never know what could have happened to your new home. It’s best to avoid surprises.
  • When is the closing date? The closing date — the day the transaction is completed and you become the legal owner of the home — is often merely a target decided by the buyer and seller. Even after you set this date, your realtor may work with your lender and title agency to adjust the timeline to allow sufficient time to execute the deal. 
  • Do I really need a realtor to buy a home? Realtors are strongly suggested. They can help with every part of the home-buying process, explain all your options, and represent you throughout the sale.

Looking for a new home in the Wilmington area? Whether you want to settle in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, we’ll give you your best chance at getting a quality home for a good price! Check out the homes for sale in the area, or give our agents a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Buying a Home